"Growing into all God wants us to be"
Everyone in our school community is on an accompanied journey of growth and discovery. God lights the path ahead of us and helps us with every step. “This encourages us to be part of better things and know that God is supporting us every step of the way”. Amelie Y5
Psalm 119:105 underpins our vision: Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.
As a Church of England (Voluntary Aided) Primary School, Speldhurst School’s worship policy follows the minimum standards for all schools as set out in the 1988 Education Reform Act and in also is line with the beliefs and practices of the Church of England, as established for the school under its trust deeds. As a Church school we know that God is at the centre of all that is best. Collective worship is therefore a very important part of the life of our school and this policy draws on the advice from the Diocese of Rochester’s Board of Education. We use the Diocese of Rochester Collective Worship Framework as a basis for our Acts of Worship, and therefore collective worship is explicitly Christian, following the Church’s year within an Anglican structure.
Aims of Collective Worship
Our collective worship contributes to the spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of our pupils, as appropriate to their ages and aptitudes. For example
- It helps pupils’ spiritual development by teaching them about God and giving them the opportunity to worship Him together. It offers pupils the opportunity to hear about Him from the Bible, to develop their own relationship with Him through prayer and to reflect on themselves and their place in His world. It encourages silent reflection, helping children to recognise the spiritual dimension of life.
- It helps pupils’ moral development by taking time to become aware of different life values, teaching respect for other faiths, while developing a common ethos and shared values based on Christian standards.
- It promotes pupils’ social development by helping them feel part of a community and by reinforcing positive attitudes to others. Our worship will encourage participation and response, whether through active involvement in the presentation of worship or through listening to and joining in the worship offered.
- It helps pupils’ cultural development by drawing on our Christian heritage through the Bible and other key writings and through religious festivals and practices. Pupils are also given the opportunity to experience and respond to appropriate music, literature, art and artefacts.
Organisation of Collective Worship
It is the responsibility of the Governors, represented by the Rector of St Mary’s Church, to arrange the programme for collective worship after consulting with the Headteacher. Worship is of a Christian character, in accordance with the denominational character of the school. The termly themes and individual assemblies are planned with a mind to the ages and abilities of the children involved.
We provide an act of worship for all pupils every day, thus fulfilling our statutory duty, organised as follows;
Monday Whole School Headteacher
Tuesday Whole School Singing Worship
Wednesday Whole School Church Representative
Thursday Whole School Deputy Headteacher
Friday Whole School Headteacher (to include celebration of Achievements)
The daily act of Collective Worship is Worship, Christian and Denominational. The Diocese of Rochester Collective Worship Framework addresses this in the following ways:
A structure approach is taken in order to maintain a regularity and familiarity both for those leading the worship and for the school community participating in it. It is familiar to all those who lead worship including representatives of our local church who assist in leading worship. The framework follows a 4 part structure:
By following the framework closely, a clear direction is provided for those who are less experienced in leading worship.
All acts of worship have a Bible story or Bible passage at their heart. Key ideas and key teaching from Christianity are always the focus. The intention is that the ideas should be developed with this in mind. Wherever possible links are made to the school’s core values.
In a Church school, teachings and ideas from other faith traditions are best explored in RE or in a separate assembly rather than as part of an act of Christian worship. In this way, the celebrations and practices of everyone can be valued and shared appropriately.
Elements of Anglican liturgy have been incorporated into the framework in the form of biddings, blessings and a variety of prayers. The shape of the Church’s Year is reflected throughout the terms as follows
- Term 1 – Harvest
- Term 2 – Advent and Christmas
- Term 3 – Epiphany and Lent
- Term 4 – Easter
- Term 5 - Pentecost
- Each term includes a number of saints and notable Christians whose commemoration days fall during the particular period according to the Church’s calendar
As a Church School our worship is planned to
- Cover all major Christian Festivals.
- Draw on Bible teaching, particularly in the form of stories.
- Include a 4 part structure: Gather, Engage, Respond and Send.
- Make links to the school’s core values.
- Use the Lord’s Prayer at least once a week.
- Be delivered in a variety of ways including music and song, story and discussion, a time for prayer and reflection.
- Allow pupils to play an active role in the planning and delivery of worship through the ‘Leading Lights’ programme.
Setting for Collective Worship
Care is taken to make the setting for the act of worship special for the occasion. Music is played as children enter and leave and symbolic artefacts (e.g. a lit candle) and an altar displaying liturgical colours are used as a point of focus for reflection.
A display area is kept in the Hall as a link with our collective worship theme and the Lord’s Prayer is displayed prominently. The ‘Leading Lights’ maintain this area and add objects as an aid to reflection.
Special Services and Church Links
We have the Rector or a visiting member of the local church to lead the worship weekly. Other speakers from local or national organisations are occasionally used to introduce pupils to the wider community. Children’s Workshop leads our worship once a term and groups such as Body and Soul also provide an input.
Special services are held in the church at the end of each term, allowing pupils to participate in a Harvest, Christmas, Easter and End of Year service. Parents and Governors are invited to join us in these services.
Teachers also have the right to withdraw, on ground of conscience, but it is hoped they will feel able to support the Christian ethos of the school and to participate in this important part of it.
Prayer groups take place for both adults and children. Adults meet with the clergy and members of the church community once a month while children have a weekly opportunity to attend ‘Prayer Space’. Up to 30 pupils take this opportunity and members of the church community support staff to deliver a setting which is conducive to prayer and quiet reflection.
Collective Worship Committee and Leading Lights
Pupils play an active role in planning worship. The Collective Worship Committee meet with the Headteacher and Rector on a termly basis to review worship within the school. A new initiative ‘Leading Lights’ also allows pupils to plan and lead aspects of worship on a regular basis.
Participation in and withdrawal from Collective Worship
Although worship has such a central part in our school life, parents have a legal right to withdraw their children from this school activity. Before reaching a decision to exercise this right, however, parents would be encouraged to discuss the issue fully with the Headteacher. Pupils who are withdrawn from school worship must be supervised at this time and will undertake a curriculum activity during this time.